Pizza Sauces Other Than Tomato

Not to be dramatic but the sauce is integral to the pizza’s structural integrity. In other words, pizza sauce can make or break the pie. Too soggy and everything slides off like a kid on a slip-and-slide. Too thin and the dough and cheese become one, leaving texture to the imagination. To be clear, nothing will be able to topple the original tomato sauce, the acidic and sweet base that’s become a constant across the board. But that doesn’t mean the palette doesn’t crave something different from time to time.

Try out some of these alternatives the next time you’re feeling a bit saucy.


A white pie is classic in its own right. The cream base sauce is thick and rich, melding with the cheese to create harmony. There’s different approaches to a white sauce from dense alfredo to a creamy bechamel sauce. Usually made with butter, cream, and cheese, it’s for those who have the luxury of lounging. This decadent base pairs well with mushrooms, herbs, and of course, more cheese.


Pesto’s already a fixture in the pizza circuit. Commonly paired with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella, pesto is a subtle and nutty alternative to its more zesty counterpart. The basil helps brighten up a pie, keeping it fresh between slices.


Barbeque sauce is a wildcard and somewhat of a niche choice. Some might think it’s only limited to barbeque chicken but this tangy sauce that oscillates between sour and smokey can be paired with lots of toppings such as pulled pork, jackfruit, and shrimp. Drizzle on some ranch sauce and we’re in business.  


Sometimes a sauce is as simple as olive oil. This blank canvas approach takes a backseat approach as the other ingredients take the stage. But quality olive oil is a great alternative that keeps the pizza light while helping to deepen the other flavors. Mix in a medley of herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme or sprinkle in some pepper flakes for some heat. Add in some sweet balsamic vinegar and bon appetit!


We’re cheating by sneaking this zesty red sauce in. Made with roasted red peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and almonds, it’s an exciting take on the more traditional red. With hints of spice and smokiness, this sauce is traditionally used for fish but now found slathered on flatbread.

— Amanda Yam

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